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Dec 02, 2022 12:01 PM
Imagine a D&D economy. No, wait, don't run away screaming!
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The small settlement known as Viny Tillage has learned some strange things about the nearby hermit recently. Apparently the hermit can lift things with their thoughts, make flameless lights dance in the air, and whisper to just one person in a crowd from a hundred feet away.

The hermit thinks it can be learned. The hermit has offered to try to teach people. Still, it would take years to learn, and if there's one thing Viny Tillage doesn't abound with, it's free time.

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The Tiller family - Hyakinthos, his wife Melite, his mother Eunike, his brother-in-law Kallias, and his children Herais, Nicanor, Timo, and the brand-new twins Chrysanthe and Isokrates - is having a pretty good year. Hyakinthos and Eunike were laid up for a couple of weeks with the flu, but Melite and Kallias didn't get it; Melite had an iffy recovery from bearing the babies, having lost a lot of blood, and Eunike had to take over the cooking and fall behind on her plans for the spinning, while all Melite could do was lie in bed and wolf down bread and roll over a little to present a different tit to a baby; but the harvest got in and Herais is healthy as a horse and Nicanor is bright and Timo impishly charming - already she talks and walks.

Kallias keeps talking about getting married, but it's convenient he hasn't done it yet - there's not room for another person in the big bed, and if he moved out it would be much harder to get the men's work done whenever something happens to Hyakinthos. Kallias hasn't gotten very far with any of the girls he meets in Nowt on market trips, and so far nobody in Viny Tillage has seemed interested. Still, he has a parcel nobody's using in mind, for if he ever finds someone to settle it with.

Kallias spends about half an hour listening to the hermit talk about magic, once, having the vague idea that it might help attract a wife - the fact that the hermit is not married somewhat lost on him - but none of it makes sense, and he comes home reporting that it's very complicated stuff.

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The Clubb family, who arrived in Viny Tillage only three years ago (give or take a few months) now, have continued to settle into their new home. Cavalaw continues to improve his mastery of the local language with his wife Halia's help. They've met with continued success in supporting themselves and their growing family, Cavalaw putting his skills as a collier (and to a lesser degree as a hunter and trapper) to good use, with the charcoal kiln now fully operational and pollarding of the wood on the family's land underway, though Cavalaw is uncertain of how well the local trees will take to it. Halia foraged when she could, and helped move the family's products into the village and trade with the other families earlier in the year, though in the later months her time was devoted to birthing the twins Auxentios and Hezgial, and to caring for them alongside their older brother Rodal, and for herself when she fell ill in the autumn. With two new children and his wife still gathering her strength, Cavalaw does his best to find Origenes Shoemaker and stumbles through asking the older man if he might be willing to trade for two more pairs of good shoes.

Overall, neither Cavalaw nor Halia find time to meet with the hermit, and while young Rodal has expressed interest he is still far too young and too fragile.

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This year has been better than the last few for the Swineherds—Nikolaos, his son Iason, Iason's wife Koralia, their daughter Despina, and their new baby Nikos (named after his grandfather as something of a good luck charm). 

Even the month when the whole family caught the flu, one after the other laid up in bed for a week or two each, didn't leave them too badly off. With Despina now ten and old enough to be more of a help than a hindrance with the pigs, they finally have enough hands to manage the herd properly and are no longer struggling to earn enough to feed themselves, even though Nikolaos is still slower and weaker than he used to be before his illness a few years ago.

Iason takes the opportunity to buy a few more pigs from the market in Nowt, trading a few surplus turnips from their small field and most of the endless bundles of dipped candles Koralia made while she was too ill or too heavily pregnant to help with the pigs or the crops. The rest of the candles they didn't use themselves, along with the pork they didn't eat, are traded to other families in the village for various foodstuffs and other essentials: tallow to make more candles, wool to make clothes for the new baby, and the like. 

Despina is fascinated by the hermit and spent a solid month early in the year sneaking away at every opportunity to listen to him talk, although most of it went over her head. Eventually, Iason dragged her back home by the ear; they might be doing better than they were, but that doesn't mean they can afford for anyone to do less than pull their weight. 

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The Drapers laid the family patriarch to rest this year and that's their biggest news. Newly widowed Chloe spent all her spare time on textiles and trading with neighbors rather than think about it.

Ambrose, 23, not married yet, spent a couple of months learning from the wizard, following which he still can't lift things with his mind or make dancing lights any more than he could to begin with.

The other eight people in the family... coped, mostly.

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The Tillers mostly send Herais on errands to other households in the village, though sometimes others bring things too. They like to routinely give their neighbors anything they have extra of - to stay on good terms as insurance against hard times, to encourage informal kickbacks without having to actually track trade value and seem tightfisted, because it's easier to send Herais on a walk with a basket full of eggs than to pickle all the ones they don't get around to eating, because the Drapers grow olives and they don't.

Herais goes in with a basket of grapes, when the vines are bearing. She has only eaten a few of them on the way and took all of those from specific stems she could discard en route to avoid making it obvious.

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For which they're very grateful.

They've got more wool than they can really use, Chloe points out, could the Tillers use some more?

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Yep, Grandma basically does nothing but spin all day (sometimes she knits, but that eats up yarn much much faster than spinning creates it) and there's no shortage of uses for wool!

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